Circular polarizing filters are great for saturating colors and preventing unwanted reflections. At least that’s what the internet says but it’s no substitute for discovering on my own, so I spent $150 on a 77mm Promaster filter down at Tuttle Cameras when they were having a big sale. Check out the dramatic difference in these unedited photos:
I mean, wow. Right?
I wanted to share a couple of first impressions. First, there’s a light loss of about 2 stops. That’s like shooting at 1/60 instead of 1/250 or f/5.6 instead of f/2.8. Or just setting your camera to -2 EV. In a more practical sense, it means you might need to use a tripod when you wouldn’t normally have to, like after sunrise or before sunset.
The second and more complicated thing is that the polarizing effect is maximized by shooting perpendicular to your light source and subject. For this shot, I was standing in between the tree and the sun and shooting straight up, so the effect is incredibly pronounced. If I had shot a tree across the street then I would have been pointing in the same direction as the light and the effect would not be nearly as noticeable.
And of course, you have to rotate the filter to adjust the amount of the effect as well. That’s just how it works.
One last thing – I mentioned that I got a 77mm filter, which is kind of big. In fact, I don’t even own a lens that fits 77mm filters, so I had to get a step-down filter ring. The reason for that is because I only wanted to buy one high-quality filter and then cheap ($10-20) step-down rings so I could potentially put it on any of my lenses. The alternative is buying a filter for every single lens, which sounds kind of stupid in comparison.
I’ll plan on putting up plentiful polarized pics pronto. Stay tuned and check the daily photo, yo.